Evans confirms move to BMC
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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Evans confirms move to BMC

by Steve Jones at 2:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

The BMC team and Cadel Evans have officially confirmed the news that the Australian will be riding for the American team in 2010. In a surprise move yesterday, the reigning road World Champion announced he would be leaving the Belgian Silence-Lotto team using the "get out" clause in his contract.

Silence-Lotto director sportif Marc Sergeant and the team's financial manager Geert Coeman met with Evans in Italy back in August to discuss his situation with the team. After having a disappointing Tour de France, where rumors about his position in the team were rampant, the two parties got together to clear the air.

"It was a constructive conversation," Sergeant told Nieuwsblad.be at the time, noting that Evans was relaxed and had recovered mentally from the Tour. "All of our misunderstandings [during the Tour] were addressed.

Cadel thought that on the last day of the Tour he would be fired, something he heard from an Australian journalist. Complete nonsense of course, but it did not help the situation."

And while on the outside the Silence-Lotto boss said things were in order, some of his comments at the time may not have sat well with Evans, who cited a physical problem that affected his breathing being the issue at the Tour. Sergeant didn't agree with his assessment contradicting the rider by saying, "Everyone has their story, but I still believe that he completely collapsed mentally. But I think he has everything in order now. He is motivated to do well in the Vuelta. Two years ago he finished fourth."

Clearly there were still some differences of opinion between the management and their star rider. Evans decided to answer back with his performances, riding to an incredible third place in the Vuelta a España, and shocking everyone by winning the road World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

On the heels of the Silence-Lotto news, another big story emerged as rumblings about his connection with Andy Rihs' BMC Team began to flood the Internet. Rihs, a long time supporter of cycling, started the BMC project out of the ashes of his Phonak team, a team that was dismantled after the Floyd Landis doping scandal erupted out of the 2006 Tour de France.

But Rihs showed everyone he wasn't about to give up his passion for the sport, or his confidence in team manager John Lelangue. He started to build again teaming up with American cycling stalwart Jim Ochowicz.

The trio went about building BMC with a mostly American flavor, holding onto Swiss riders Alexandre Moos and David Vitoria from the previous Phonak squad. The biggest American names on the team were Scott Moninger and Mike Sayers, who retired as a rider and transitioned to a sports director position for the team.

BMC started out with a modest year in 2007, but in 2008 they began to come good with wins in Ronde Van Brisbane, the KOM Competition Tour de Wallonie, the Tour of Utah, the Tour de Leelanau, and the KOM at the Amgen Tour of California. With some of their roots based in Switzerland, they also managed an invite to the Tour of Romandie, and began to set their sights on racing the European scene.

2009 saw the team racing over in Europe more often and beging to taste success. They worked out a European schedule that saw participation in more races across the pond including the Circuit de la Sarthe, the Tour de Picardie, the Daupiné Libéré, again the Tour de Romandie, and the Tour of Belgium. Anyone paying attention could see that Rihs and Ochowicz were working towards building the foundation for a team that would again show Lelangue's prowess at the top level of the sport.

With surprise signings of George Hincapie and Alessandro Ballan the pair announced 2010 as the year to make the big move to the top level of the sport. They also brought on board Karsten Kroon, Marcus Burghardt, and Steve Moribito to bring more experience and depth to the emerging American team.  Now with Evans' three-year contract, they will continue to build the team.

“Cadel Evans heard about how our team was expanding by signing big-name riders like George Hincapie, Alessandro Ballan, Marcus Burghardt, Karsten Kroon and other strong racers, and this news immediately fired him up with the idea of riding for such a flexible, engaged and passionate team,” explained Rihs.

Now with a Tour de France contender, the team hopes to secure a wildcard invite to cycling's biggest stage in July, the Tour de France. Riders like Hincapie and Kroon have the sort of experience that can help Evans ride to a successful Tour, but whether BMC can support an overall contender in the mountains still remains a question.

“Cadel brings a wealth of experience in the Grand Tours to the team,” said team co-owner Jim Ochowicz. "Our team will have multiple chances to measure ourselves against the greatest teams in the world. We are pleased that we will have the opportunities to send out our most successful riders, now including Cadel Evans, to tackle these challenges"

With heavy hitters like Rihs and Ochowicz working the negotiations, one can expect Evans has been assured that the team will build on their already solid climbing base of Alexandre Moos, Jeff Louder and Scott Nydam.

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